A panel of retired IAS officers, educationists and social activists has submitted to TN Minister for Adi Dravidar and Tribal Welfare, N. Kayalvizhi Selvaraj, a charter of demands on some of the important issues affecting the livelihoods, progress and development of Dalits in Tamil Nadu .

Retired IAS officers C. Chellappan and IV Manivannan and Prof. S. Devadoss from Dr. Ambedkar Academy – People’s Educational Trust submitted the charter of demands to the Minister on Wednesday last, as well as to the Secretary of the Department on March 13.

The charter, with 17 pointers, highlights the need to improve the quality of education of students studying in schools run by the Adi Dravidar and Tribal Welfare Department; the need to enhance the dietary charges for students staying in hostels; the need to open residential schools and the need to sanction post-matric scholarship for SC/ST students studying in deemed universities.

Increasing the quantum and number of overseas scholarships to SC students; the need to provide cultivable land to landless agricultural laborers and those with uneconomic land holdings, adequate allotments to TAHDCO; establishing an Institute of Dalit Studies and implementation of the special component plan for SCs were also among the demands.

The need to provide houses for the homeless on sites already allotted to them by the government; the need to implement the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 effectively; filling up of the backlog of vacancies of SCs/STs; increasing the percentage of reservations from 18% to 20% were the other demands made in the charter.

The charter also underlined the need to appoint Vice Chancellors and other posts in varsities belonging to the SC; reservation for SC/STs in the higher judiciary through constitutional amendments; providing training to SC advocates under senior advocates and the need to expand the Periyar Samathuvapuram scheme.

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